[toc]The season finale of US prime time reality television series MasterChef concluded this week, with poker professional and Magic: The Gathering player David Williams taking second place in the Gordon Ramsay cooking show.
Williams, 36, is familiar with the bittersweet feeling of a runner-up finish.
In 2004, he finished second to Greg Raymer in the World Series of Poker Main Event. In that case, however, he still won a tidy $3.5 million.
Unfortunately, Williams missed out on the $250,000 first place prize for MasterChef, which was won by fellow Las Vegas, Nevada resident Shaun O’Neale. With over $7.9 million in poker tournament cashes to his name, Williams won’t be struggling to pay the rent without it, though.
In fact, Williams seemed very happy with his performance as he said on Twitter:
David Williams’ card gaming career
Williams is an accomplished Magic: The Gathering player, with several top finishes in Grand Prix events throughout the 1990s. He was disqualified from the 2001 World Championship after making the top eight spots for accusations of cheating, which he denied.
After this, Williams began to focus on Texas Hold’em and became an excellent poker player. His first major success came at the 2004 World Series of Poker, where he came second place out of 2,576 entrants to win $3.5 million.
Additionally, Williams won a WSOP bracelet in 2006 playing Seven-Card Stud. In 2010, he won the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship for $1.5 million.
He has over $7.9 million in live poker tournament cashes to his name.
Other poker players in reality TV
Williams is not the first professional poker player to turn his eye to reality television with some success, and due to the competitive nature of the game he doubtless will not be the last.
Annie Duke on The Apprentice
While not as successful or skilled a poker player as Williams, Annie Duke was a famous poker player in her own right when she appeared on The Apprentice. She famously had a rivalry with the late Joan Rivers, to whom she finished second.
Jean-Robert Bellande on Survivor
Alex Jacob on Jeopardy
MasterChef is a US adaptation of a British television series that was later exported to Australia, where it enjoyed immense success and defined its current format.
In the series, amateur and home chefs compete under the eye of internationally famous Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay and successful pastry chef and restauranteur Christina Tosi.
Chefs are given a set amount of time to produce a dish, which is then judged by the professional chefs. Each week, a chef is sent home until just a single winner remains.
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